Branding is not just your organization’s logo and website design. Your organization’s brand is a much broader concept, more along the lines of how your organization makes people feel. It encompasses identity, language, consistency, and voice—much like a personality that provides cohesion for your organization.
While many nonprofits have limited resources, good branding is a worthwhile investment. Branding can be a primary driver in compelling potential supporters to back your work and develop long-term, trusting relationships with your organization. There are many great free or cheap resources for branding and design available for your nonprofit to use, but even these resources are best utilized alongside a well-constructed brand bible articulated by your organization.
A brand bible is a document with branding guidelines that act to maintain a company’s identity. If it is done well, your brand bible will have a lifespan of many years, and will provide the the necessary framework for your marketing and fundraising strategies. It is the foundation of what the public will see of your organization as well as the basis of all your organization’s interactions. This includes internal communications, your relationships with your supporters, your social media presence, your advertising, and your design. That’s a pretty important list!
Read on to see how creating a brand bible can assist your organization for years to come:
1. Your Brand Bible Will Help Establish Your Nonprofit’s Voice
Creating a brand bible is essential to cultivating the right voice and language for addressing important issues for your organization. Many nonprofits address vulnerable communities that are often labelled insensitively in mainstream media. Here is your chance to show that you hear them, and that your organization will be a trailblazer in cultivating respect and dismantling harmful stereotypes for these groups.
Think about what words your organization wants to use when addressing sensitive issues and populations, and what words and phrases to avoid across materials to preserve that sense of integrity. These language guidelines can be a great addition to your brand bible.
2. Brand Bibles Equip Your Staff and Volunteers
It is important that your staff and volunteers know how to speak about your organization, answer questions to the public, and generally represent your nonprofit in the most accurate way possible. Your brand bible is a great resource for anyone at your organization to familiarize themselves with your nonprofit’s vision, mission, and voice style guide. Your assets, formulated with the guidelines set by your brand bible, can even help your donors with their own awareness around important issues and help them spread the message of your campaigns in the most effective and consistent style.
3. Brand Bibles Keep Your Organization Authentic and Trustworthy
Your organization does not need to be involved in every possible type of publicity. You will ultimately be more effective and successful with participation in a select few, but well-thought-out, campaign types and social media trends. With your brand bible, you can hone in on what your priorities are and what best fits your organization’s identity, supporter base, and needs.
Ultimately, your brand bible will reflect the importance and clarity of your mission and message—both internally and public-facing. Creating such a document will assist in cultivating a strong identity for your nonprofit that can be reflected and reinforced by anyone from your organization’s staff to your volunteers, supporters, and the greater community.